Monday, September 12, 2005

I feel The Pain and Share the Shame

I feel the pain and share the shame. The Minister of Interior, Mr. Ismail Adan Osman has shamed Somaliland (SL). A nation that doesn’t observe due process is a nation that deserves the label of a rogue nation. Rogue State is what Awdalnews, one of the staunch supporters of this administration, not Ali Gulaid, a critic, has labeled a country supposedly aspiring to become a politically recognized Nation.

The unwarranted, ill-advised deportation and the manhandling of an esteemed, internationally recognized scholar, academician and an editor of a respected journal would negatively resonate with the international circles that form the opinions that make or break the political status SL is supposedly working towards. Indeed it is incidents such as this that erase whatever goodwill accrued to Somaliland but the blame lies not with the Minister but the head of the State, the President, who time and again absolved him of any wrong doing, no matter how egregious the Minister’s actions are.

The urge to condemn the deportation of Mr. Marchal is as strong as the one I felt when the beloved Dr. Tonelli and the couple, Mr. & Mrs. Eyeington were murdered. Both, incidents stained SL, but while the latter were carried out by alleged terrorists, the former was carried out by unscrupulous immigration officers while the Minister of Interior gazed like a sadist - twenty feet away- the incident of roughening up of an honorable law-abiding guest, who I might add was in SL legally and for a good reason.

I wish I could say to Mr. Marchal this type of treatment and lack of due process is an exception but as documented by Africa Right, Amnesty International and other local human rights organizations, it is the rule. As a matter of fact, Mr. Marchal is lucky; many Somalilanders perish behind bars without due process. The lack of due process prevalent in SL amounts to State sponsored terrorism and it is my hope Mr. Marchal’s case would disclose the plight the people of SL have endured. I assure you, Mr. Marchal, you were not singled out.

Speaking of asylum seekers, the Minister should have known better, but again the Minister is an outlaw. Since the Somali Republic collapsed, millions of Somalis were welcomed throughout the world, places as far away as Australia with open hands: they were fed, sheltered and schooled at the generosity of countries like France, United Kingdom, and many more. And it is the remittance the refugees earn from countries like France, which fuel the economy of Somaliland, which without it, SL couldn’t have survived.

Ironically, Mr. Ismail Adan has different and quite contrasting identities: In Somaliland he is the Minister of Interior, one of the most powerful ministries in the country; in the United Kingdom, he is card carrying asylee who receives the dole as of today; in Sweden, he is a fugitive, wanted for drug trafficking. A powerful minister, a narcotic dealer and a fugitive, Mr. Ismail Adan is all at the same time, so take your pick. Welcome to Somaliland, where the Minister of interior is not the only with shady and undesirable background. The moral of bringing this story is that the Minister should have treated the foreigner with due process if not with dignity. But again, the Minister have abused the generosity extended to him by the British by collecting the dole while selling at same time narcotic, known as “Qat” which he trafficked across Europe which is illegal.

It was due to this alleged narcotic trafficking, the Interpol has issued a warrant to arrest Mr. Ismail Adan, the current Minister of Somaliland, warrant that is still outstanding and makes him a fugitive. The Minister and the President have shamed Somaliland more than one way but this strike might be fatal.

This incident shouldn’t surprise anyone. This administration has build, over the years, a profile and a reputation of associating themselves with mafia-like individuals peddling bogus companies such as Meier of Norway, who is behind bars now while shunning and alienating groups such as the National Center for Scientific Research, Paris. It is organizations like the National Center for Research which SL should have targeted to influence and to lobby but who could blame the Minister; ignorance is sinister by nature.

Mr. Marchal, as you have correctly pointed out the freedom of expression is enshrined on the Somaliland constitution but in SL, as you found out, it is the word of the Minister and other leaders not the constitution that takes supremacy over the law of the land.
Mr. Marchal, I am glad that the Minister isn’the only Somalilander that have crossed your path and that this incident, as unfortunate as it is, would only motivate you to work harder and advocate democracy and due process in Somaliland.

To Awdalnews, I say thanks for apologizing to Mr. Marchal but sacking the Minister who shamed the country in so many ways at so many times and an apology from the President is the more responsible way to control the damage. Truly, I feel the pain and share the shame.

Ali Gulaid, San Jose, CA

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